MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger


Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing



CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

Shostakovich and Comrades
Dimitri KABALEVSKY (1904-1987)
Piano Sonata no. 3 in F major, Op. 46 (1946) [14:06]
Piano Sonata no. 1, Op. 12 (1926) [11:31]
Piano Sonata no. 2 in B minor, Op. 61 (1942) [25:37]
Nikolai MIASKOVSKY (1881-1950)
Song and Rhapsody, Op. 58 (1942) [5:47]
Ronald STEVENSON (b. 1928)
Recitative and Air on DSCH (1974) [13:54]
Rodion SHCHEDRIN (b. 1932)
Tschastuschki: Concerto for Piano Solo (aka 'Naughty Limericks') [9:00]
Murray McLachlan (piano)
rec. 26-27 August 2006, location not specified
Russian Piano Music Series, vol. 1
DIVINE ART DDA25080 [79.44]

Experience Classicsonline

The new series of Russian Piano Music from Divine Art begins auspiciously with a volume devoted to Shostakovich and Comrades, a single disc, which includes some exceptional examples of twentieth-century works for piano. At the core of this recording are the two piano sonatas of Shostakovich, which receive a fine reading by Murray McLachlan and also benefit from the context created in this CD through related works. The selections fit well together and offer an opportunity to hear some works that are otherwise difficult to find.

Shostakovich’s First Piano Sonata (1926) is often regarded as an angry piece, and the edgy, aggressive qualities of this one-movement essay emerge readily in McLachlan’s interpretation. He captures its spirit in the performance, and never flags in bringing out its intensity. McLachlan nicely evokes the rebellious tone that the young composer expressed in this early work. This performance has a percussive quality, which supports the style of the piece appropriately.

In contrast to the First Piano Sonata, the Second (1942) is more reflective in tone and adopts a conventional approach to form with its three movements. Unlike the shifting tempos of the various sections that comprise the First, Shostakovich opens with an Allegretto, which makes use of sonata form. McLachlan brings out the structure nicely, and he complements this approach with a meditative approach to the Largo that follows. The third movement (Moderato) is a set of variations (9), which are subtly artful in the way the ideas are manipulated. McLachlan makes the form emerge with clarity, and his playing is both authoritative and comfortable.

The other works in this recording are by composers whose names are familiar. Kabalevsky may be known better to modern audiences for his orchestral music, but the Third Piano Sonata (1946), the piece with which the CD opens, is a fine example of the composer’s style for this medium. McLachlan offers a facile reading, in which Kabalevsky evinces some affinities with Prokofiev. The motoric rhythm of the first movement emerges nicely in this performance; yet the second movement could benefit from a slightly slower tempo. The Finale itself is effective for the impetuous quality McLachlan brings to the music. At times the speed seems impossible to maintain, and McLachlan succeeds not only in doing so, but also in bringing the piece to a satisfying conclusion.

Nikolai Miaskovsky, a slightly older contemporary of Kabalevsky, is known for his nine sonatas. He is represented in this recording with the two-movement Song and Rhapsody, Op. 58 (1942). The first movement has a nicely angular lyricism, which McLachlan exploits well. Yet in the Rhapsody, Myaskovsky explores textures and sonorities reminiscent of Impressionism. While those sounds initially suggest earlier times, Myaskovsky establishes his own style as the piece develops. In a similar way, the British composer Ronald Stevenson offers a further perspective on the lyrical piano piece in his Recitative and Air (DSCH), a piece which dates from 1974 and pays homage to Shostakovich with the sogetto cavato theme based on the composer’s name (D, S [Es=E-flat]), C, H (German pitch name for B-natural). This set of variations is simultaneously a tribute to Shostakovich and a highly evocative work on its own merits. In a recording focused on Shostakovich and his comrades, Stevenson’s piece is a highly effective addition to the already innovative program.

The recording concludes with a virtuoso piece by the contemporary composer Rodion Shchedrin (b. 1932), in Tashastuschki, his 1999 transcription for solo piano of an orchestral work from 1963. The single-movement work is a multi-textured piece which works well for solo piano. While the final section seems to push the limits of solo piano music, it remains effective in conveying the effects that exist in the orchestral score. McLachlan is good to explore the various colors of the piano in this virtuosic piece. It rounds out the recording with the appropriate tone.

Through the selections he chose for this recording McLachlan contributes some fine perspectives on twentieth century piano music from Russia. It is by no means a complete picture, but provides a fine introduction to the repertoire, which bears rehearing, particularly in the hands of such a fine interpreter.

Jim Zychowicz 

Russian Piano Music series from Divine Art
All but Vol. 1, by Anthony Goldstone:
Vol. 1 (Shostakovich and Comrades) DDA25080
Vol 2 (Rebikov) DDA25081
Vol. 3 (Glière) DDA25083
Vol. 4 (Lyapunov) & Vol. 5 (Arensky) coming soon 








Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.